This week, we had a ton of visitors up at the abbey!!! It was the busiest I’ve ever seen it up there… starting from this guy who was flying around the place, landing on the tops of our trees or our goal posts. I walked out of the residence one morning and saw a whole bunch of the seminarians and Fr. Abbot just staring out into the open so I kinda just joined them, not knowing exactly what they were looking at. When they pointed this little guy out to me, I had to sprint back in, grab my camera and sneak over to it to grab a picture… HAhahahah Whoever said it’s impossible to sneak up on a hawk is sorely mistaken!!!
Also, this week was the second half of ecumenical week. Ecumenism is an important part of the church as it involves our dialogues with the various other Christian denominations and other world religions. To commemorate this week for us, we also started inviting over a small bunch of different guest speakers from various faiths to speak to us. We had Eparch Ken, from the Ukrainian Catholic Church and a priest from the local Coptic Church visiting on consecutive nights speaking to us about the history of the Catholic/Orthodox split that happened over a thousand years ago and where we’re at, somewhat, in our talks for unity. We’ve also had a Protestant minister from the Alliance Church down the road talking to us about the history of the Alliance church, how it’s distinct from the other mainline Protestant churches and what aspects we hold in common to them. It was really informative and I really enjoyed it! Plus, because we had guests, we also had tons of dispensations for our evening meals–meaning, instead of quiet table reading, we can actually talk!!!
I’m really enjoying our table readings now though… We’re currently working our way through the book “A Song for Nagasaki” on Dr. Takashi Nagai. He is a Japanese convert who survived the atomic bomb in Nagasaki that ended the Second World War. He had some very powerful things to say in front of the completely destroyed Urakami Cathedral a mere three months after the destruction that claimed his beloved wife and contributed more to his sickness from radiation poisoning. He died 5 years after the bomb exploded. What he said though has helped shape Japanese Catholicity in a significant way. He called the death of thousands hansai or “sacrificial offering” saying that after the death and hate that was spread in the world as a result of war, mere repentance was not enough. They had to offer a stupendous sacrifice–the “one pure lamb” that had to be sacrificed as hansai on His altar in order that millions might be saved. He called for everyone to be thankful for the sacrifice for through it, peace came into the world! If you want to learn more about this amazing man, check out the book “A Song for Nagasaki,” his biography.
Also this week, I lost my keys. It was quite disastrous actually because the whole community ended up finding out about it. This particular community is a great group of guys but one thing about them is that they really enjoy playing practical jokes. There’s some nastiness in it… Anyway, over here, a room that is never locked is like an open temptation for them… It’s like giving a 2 year old kid a big lollipop and asking him not to eat it! I had to prepare my room for whatever they ended up doing… Some of the stuff they had done in the past was either really strange or really nasty. I’ve heard that they had once managed to build a little snow man in someone’s bathroom. They’ve also done some really nasty things with people’s toilets that I think might be too disturbing to talk about on a blog like this. Something else they’ve done in the past was they somehow managed to fill another seminarians room with crumpled rolls of newspaper that were almost knee deep and was spilling a little bit into the bathroom. They’re pretty creative here!!!
Needless to say, I figured I needed to set up some defences to prepare. But I didn’t know the best way to keep them out without making a mess that I had to clean up too… So instead of fighting them, I decided to play the guilty card!!! Once you opened the door to my room, the very first thing you see is this:
The statues of Jesus and Mary looking at you!!! On the chair also is a little mug with candy and a note that says “If you’re going to booby-trap my room, you may as well help yourself to some candy while you’re at it.” I also included an offertory prayer in it that Fr. Peter had taught me–that way, they would at least sanctify the work they were doing in their jokes… The prayer of St. Gertrude that Fr. Peter taught me is as follows:
Lord God, I offer you this (action) in union with the love with which you (acted) when you were on earth for the glory of God Your Father and the salvation of man
That’s a great prayer to say before doing anything at all… It kind of consecrates the action you’re about to do and offers it up for the glory of God… It’s also a very practical way of making everything you do a prayer!! c”,)
The last thing I did to protect my room was my favourite… I printed out a picture of Judas (from Mel Gibson’s the Passion of the Christ) and added a nice little scripture verse underneath it. It was from St. John 13: 27 — your homework, look up that verse!! You’ll love it!! Anyway, that’s all for this evening!! Hope you have a fantastic week!! God bless!!!!!